Date: Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cyclist Emma Cumming, runner Jack Beaumont and rower Michaela Townshend have all been recognised for outstanding years in their respective sports, at the Academy Southland graduation.

The programme graduation was held on Monday night and marked another brilliant year for the talent development programme.

Programme manager Jason McKenzie said, in a year highlighted by numerous successes, Cumming, Beaumont and Townshend stood out. 

Cumming was awarded the Year 1 trophy for performance and commitment to the programme after a huge year, highlighted by a silver medal in the team sprint at the UCI World Track Championships in Kazakhstan, and breaking the under-19 New Zealand women's record in the 500m time trial at the Southland Track Cycling Championships.

With plans to move to Cambridge next year to train and study part time, more success should follow.

Beaumont and Townshend shared the Year 2 award for performance and commitment.

Beaumont won the New Zealand mountain running championships, then represented New Zealand at the world championships placing 12th in the junior men's section.

He also won the senior boys 2000m steeplechase at the New Zealand Secondary School nationals. 

Beaumont plans to stay in Southland until August, when he will take up a US athletics.

Townshend won the national women's under-18 title at Maadi Cup, then represented New Zealand at the World Junior Rowing Championships where her team won the B final.

She has been selected into the Southern Regional Performance Centre and is in Christchurch.

While all three athletes had had brilliant years, McKenzie said all other athletes and officials within the programme had also taken huge strides in their development. 

"The graduation is a chance to celebrate what has been achieved over the year," McKenzie said.

"There have been some very impressive achievements, but the graduation also highlights how much these young people have grown throughout the programme. Coming into Academy Southland, many of them would balk at the thought of having to speak in front of a crowd, but come graduation they just have another level of confidence." 

McKenzie said it had been a big year for the talent development programme.

It is first under local governance with Talent Development Southland Charitable Trust now leading the way. It is funded and supported by Community Trust of Southland, ILT Foundation, Mataura Licensing Trust and Sport Southland.  

The programme offers young talented athletes and officials extensive support across a range of areas including sport psychology, nutrition and strength and conditioning, providing invaluable skills as they look to transition to the elite high performance environment.

Next year promises to be another big year for Southland athletes and coaches, with the Olympic Games in Rio, and a new intake of talented young athletes and officials set to be welcomed to Academy Southland from March. 

Applications for next year's programme will be taken from February and a seminar for athletes and officials interested will be held on February 1.

Article courtesy Stuff

 

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